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  #1  
Old 03-21-2002, 10:41 AM
mradowic
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Question '93 MB 190e 2.6 (New MB person w/ MANY ?'s!)

Car in Question:
1993 MB 190e 2.6
Automatic Transmission

Hello everyone. I am very new to the world of Mercedes and am hoping that all of you with MB experience might be able to help me. I'm a college student, and my piece of crap Buick finally bit the dust. I visited a dealorship yesterday and found a '93 Mercedes Benz 190e 2.6 for $7,995. I didn't have time to test drive it yesterday, but from the looks of it, I could tell that the outer body had been well-maintained, and the inside was in immaculate condition.

Specifically, I have these questions:

1. I don't have a ton of money to spend on car repairs. Would this year/make of Mercedes be a good investment for me? (These cars have such good retail and trade-in value -- even if I drove it for 10 years, I could still get 1/2 my money back!)

2. About how much can I expect to pay per year in upkeep on a car such as this?

3. From doing online research, I've seen sporadic problems with head gasket failures and troubles with the a/c. They were other model years, not the '93. Is the '93 prone to any major mechanical problems?

4. What about service? The car has 70,700 miles on it now, and I'm not sure yet as to its mechanical history, although the dealor tells me it's in immaculate condition (but then again, don't they all?). Should I expect a service appointment soon? About how much should I be prepared to spend?

5. What about the timing belts and chains? I kept reading that these cars are very sensitive about these belts and chains, and I want to be sure that I don't mess something up if they need replacing. How would I know how when to replace these?

6. Overall, how reliable is this car?

7. Would you be able to point me to a page on the Internet or maybe something that you might have in terms of keeping track of scheduled maintenance (when to change the fluids, oil changes, etc.) People tell me that these cars require different maintenance than American cars, so I want to be sure to have a good schedule.

-----

WHEW! I think that's it! I'm supposed to go and trade my car in this afternoon. I will check back for any responses that you might be able to help me with. I'm grateful to all of you for your assistance in helping me make a good decision.
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2002, 11:31 AM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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A Mercedes is not a Corolla. That's the first thing you need to understand. They thrive on maintenance. These are technically complex cars and should not be serviced at your gas station. This car was designed to reward the driver with an outstanding driving experience, not a "Maytag" experience.

That said, they are also very reliable cars in terms of major mechanical failure. I have yet to meet an MB owner that's worn out the bottom end of an engine.

The M103 engine in the 2.6 can go for 400,000 kilometers easily. The transmission can easily last 300,000 kilometers. The body won't rust for decades, and remains tight and strong nearly forever.

To your specific points:

1. I don't have a ton of money to spend on car repairs. Would this year/make of Mercedes be a good investment for me? (These cars have such good retail and trade-in value -- even if I drove it for 10 years, I could still get 1/2 my money back!)

This is a nine year old car. ANY nine year old car is going to cost a reasonable amount to properly maintain over time. Mercedes' parts cost the same as most Japanese imports (much less in many cases) and are easy to do basic service on. Count on spending at least $1500 a year to properly maintain this car.

3. From doing online research, I've seen sporadic problems with head gasket failures and troubles with the a/c. They were other model years, not the '93. Is the '93 prone to any major mechanical problems?

The 93 M103 engine is pretty well sorted out, and very durable. The M103 has a lower incidence of head gasket failures than the DOHC M104. AC problems include pushbutton units, which have jobber-rebuilt units available at a low price. Same for cruise amplifiers. Final drives are long-lasting too.

4. What about service? The car has 70,700 miles on it now, and I'm not sure yet as to its mechanical history, although the dealor tells me it's in immaculate condition (but then again, don't they all?). Should I expect a service appointment soon? About how much should I be prepared to spend?

Any nine year old used car probably needs $2000 to bring back to snuff. I'd be VERY wary of a car without a service history. If you go for it, then you'll need to do a service right away to make sure it's in top form. Change every fluid and filter, including the transmission fluid/filter.

5. What about the timing belts and chains? I kept reading that these cars are very sensitive about these belts and chains, and I want to be sure that I don't mess something up if they need replacing. How would I know how when to replace these?

MB engines have no timing belts. They use chains. The M103 inline engine has a short chain that does not change direction, and is very long lived. A competent MB mechanic can check it for stretch. Timing chain life REALLY depends on oil changes and the treatment that an engine has received. On my 190E cars, I usually changed the chain and tensioner at about 200,000 kilometers for peace-of-mind. It's about $400 parts&labour at MB dealers.

Overall, how reliable is this car?

It's going to depend on the car you're looking at. A multi-owner non-serviced abuse case could be a nightmare of problems. Your best bet is to have the car carefully checked out. A well cared for 190E 2.6 can be an excellent daily driver, giving years of reliable service. Major components are nearly unburstable. For your maintenace requirements, the dealer can get you a service booklet.

But, again, I wish to give you a caveat. MB cars are the most relaible of the high-performance cars made. But, they are not rewarding to an uncaring owner. If you're looking for an applicance, spend your money on late model Civic or Corolla. If you want a car that can go 500,000 kilometers with the right care, and still blaze down a highway at 125mph all day without making you feel like you've been in the ring with Lennox Lewis, then buy a Mercedes.
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Old 03-21-2002, 11:37 AM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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No wiring harness issues on 190E cars. Never used the later injection systems.
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Old 03-21-2002, 12:08 PM
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Get the maintance history on the car, fluid should all have been changed a couple of times (including the power steering fluid.)

Pay attention to the ignition switch. It'll probably start to act up before it fails. Change it before it dies, about $70, cause it will lock itself in and cost a fortune to get out.
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5 speed '91 190E 2.6 320,000 mi. (new car, fast, smooth as silk six, couldn't find any more Peugeots)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.5l Turbo Diesel 266,000 mi. (old car, fast for a diesel, had 2 others)
5 speed '01 Jetta V6 (new wifes car, pretty quick)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.2l Turbo Gas 197,000 mi. (wifes car, faster, sadly gone just short of 200k )
5 speed '83 Yamaha 750 Maxim 14,000 mi. (fastest)
0 speed 4' x 8' 1800 lb Harbor Freight utility trailer (only as fast as what's pulling it)
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Old 03-21-2002, 12:49 PM
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And don't just have any old mechanic check it out. Have a MB mechanic, dealer or trusted independant, do a PPI. That might just give you some bargaining power before the deal is over too, at the very least it will help ease your mind.
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Old 03-21-2002, 03:53 PM
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As with the w124 chassis MB's, the AC evaporator is a problem, but unlike the w124, there is a sub panel in the engine bay that gives you direct access to the evaporator, so to swap one out is easy, unlike the w124 that requires you to pull the dash and spend allot of $$$$$
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